Problem – The sound tech has loss of hearing at certain frequencies

A "sound system" includes everything from the source of sound to the arrival at the listeners ears. Everyone's ears that is sitting in a listening space is part of the sound system particularly the one that going to adjust the sound for everyone else - be the "standard" measure of everyone elses ears.

I looked at a sound install for a church where the sound tech was severely hearing impaired and wore two hearing aids. This problem was mentioned and the response was “He’s so faithful to be here every service”.

This sort of thing is a difficult problem. Here is a person that wants to help, a valuable member of the church, but cannot possibly mix sound. He is probably fine for a simple service but when it comes to music, praise & worship, or anything that requires a musician’s ear, he will not be able to hear what he needs to hear unless his hearing aids are extremely well designed which is not likely. So what do you do?

Some way must be found to find another place for this person to work with sound or something else entirely. Here is a typical situation where I can install a fantastic sound system and the poor ability of the sound tech will ruin my best work and you’ll think I sold you a pile of junk. Not to mention keep everyone frustrated with sound issues. This happens more times than it should.

The problem with high end hearing losses would look or sound like this.

The sound tech cannot hear high end sounds so he or she would turn up the high end controls to make it sound normal to them. A normal hearing person hears this as too much treble. It will sound very shrill.

This is not an "age" thing. I have known folks in their 80's with near perfect hearing and those in their 30's with severe problems.

But it goes back to finding the right sound tech in the first place.

One of the things I test the prospective sound techs for is their ability to hear the complete audio spectrum. Their hearing doesn’t have to be perfect, but someone that has worked around loud machinery or fired weapons all of their lives and thought it was stupid or nerd-ish to wear hearing protection could have lost a major portion of mid to upper high end range. There is no way to fix that. That person simply doesn’t qualify for the job regardless of how loyal or valuable they are. That’s just the way it is.

 


 

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